Unlocking crises of protracted displacement for refugees and internally displaced persons
Dates: October 2010–June 2012
Donors: Norwegian government
Related website: prsproject.org
The protracted displacement of refugees and IDPs constitutes a pressing yet seemingly intractable challenge facing the international community. This project draws on the findings of three case studies exploring Central America during the 1980s and 1990s, contemporary displacements of Somalis, and Iraqi displacement.
The idea behind this project was devised by the RSC and RSC Honorary Associate, Jan Egeland (former Director of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs and United Nations Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator) and responded to the Norwegian government’s own objective to explore innovative means to analyse and ultimately try to unravel protracted displacement.
The project combines the complementary knowledge of the RSC, the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)/ Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).
This innovative research and policy project, led by the Centre’s former Director, Emeritus Professor Roger Zetter, and Policy Programme Manager, Héloïse Ruaudel, aims to provide analysis which can assist policymakers (in countries of origin and countries of displacement) and international actors in unlocking the conditions of protracted displacement, the scale and dimensions of which demand an urgent response.
Activities and impacts
This project builds on years of research conducted by Professor Gil Loescher and Dr James Milner that has had a measurable impact on policy and practice — directly influencing the Canadian government’s position on PRS, and informing debate within UNHCR’s Executive Committee leading to the 2009 ExCom Conclusion on Protracted Refugee Situations.
The project developed an analytical framework for understanding displacement dynamics and the policy environments in which they occur, and the relationship between refugee movements, conflict and peacebuilding.
It has proposed a methodological innovation which links the top-down perspectives of the state and regional conditions which underpin protracted displacement with an exploration of ‘people-based’ perspectives, focusing on the perceptions, interests and the role of displaced populations themselves, local communities and, where relevant, transnational networks or diaspora.
A policy overview written by RSC Research Associate, Dr Katy Long, underscores the inadequacy of the three traditional ‘durable solutions’ and suggests a number of innovative strategies which might better match international policy to the needs of those trapped in protracted displacement.
Other activities include:
- A series of events aimed at engaging policymakers and practitioners at different stages and over different aspects of the project and to disseminate research findings in Geneva (June 2011), Nairobi (November 2011), London (February 2012) and Amman (March 2012).
- A website on protracted refugee situations (PRS) has been developed by the RSC that provides key facts and figures on protracted displacement and offers access to a variety of documents and other resources. Visit prsproject.org
- Presentation: GTZ/NICD, Eschborn, Germany, Roger Zetter, keynote speaker and panelist for Academy on Protracted Displacement, September 2011
- Presentation: France Terre d’Asile 40th Anniversary Conference, Roger Zetter, Migration: realities, opportunities and challenges: Panel speaker ‘Globalisation and the new challenges for international protection’, Paris, October 2011
Ruaudel, H. (2012) 'Iraqi Protracted Displacement', Workshop Report, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. Download the paper (338KB)
Zetter, R., Chatty, D., Mansour N., Lindley A., Bradley, M. (2011), ‘Protracted Displacement: The challenges of protection’, Refugee Survey Quarterly, Vol. 30, Number 1. Available from Oxford Journals
Long, K. (2011) 'Permanent Crises? Unlocking the protracted displacement of refugees and internally displaced persons', Policy Overview, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. Download the paper (356KB PDF)
Lindley, A. (2011) 'Unlocking protracted displacement: Somali case study', RSC Working Paper 79, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. Download the paper (13.2MB PDF)
Lindley, A. and Caterina, M. (2011) 'Between protracted and crisis displacement: policy responses to Somali displacement', RSC Workshop Report, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. Download the paper (275KB PDF)
Chatty, D. and Mansour, N. (2011) 'Unlocking Protracted Displacement: An Iraqi case study', RSC Working Paper 78, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. Download the paper (1.01MB PDF)
Bradley, M. (2011) 'Unlocking Protracted Displacement: Central America’s ‘success story’ reconsidered', RSC Working Paper 77, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. Download the paper (578KB PDF)
Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2011) 'Protracted Sahrawi displacement: Challenges and opportunities beyond encampment', Forced Migration Policy Briefing 7, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. Download the paper (597KB PDF)
Milner, J. and Loescher, G. (2011) 'Responding to Protracted Refugee Situations: Lessons from a Decade of Discussions', Forced Migration Policy Briefing 6, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. Download the paper (539KB PDF)
Loescher, G. and Milner, J. (2008) 'Understanding the Problem of Protracted Refugee Situations', in Loescher, G. et. al., 'Protracted Refugee Situations: Political, Human Rights and Security Implications', United Nations University Press
Loescher, G., and Milner, J. (2008) 'A Framework for Responding to Protracted Refugee Situations' in Loescher, G. et. al., Protracted Refugee Situations: Political, Human rights and Security Implications, United Nations University Press
Loescher, G. and Milner, J. (2006) ' Protracted Refugee Situations: the Search for Practical Solutions' The State of the World's Refugees, Oxford University Press
Loescher, G. and Milner, J. (2005) 'Protracted Refugee Situations: Domestic and Security Implications', IISS Adelphi Paper 375, London: Routledge
Unlocking Protracted Displacement of Refugees and IDPs: Somali and Iraqi displacements and policy responses, 6 March 2012, London